National Canoe Championships Bring Top Competitors to Muskegon River


This is the third time that Newaygo has hosted the US National Canoe Marathon Championships. Past events have paved the way for better access to the lake and safety measures along the waterway.

NEWAYGO, Michigan – For the third time, Newaygo welcomes paddlers from across the country and beyond for the United States Canoe Association National Marathon Championships.

Paddlers is the correct term for competitive canoe racers. Nearly 300 paddlers participate in the weekend’s competition representing 23 states and three countries, the United States, Canada and Belize.

The marathon itself spans 14 miles of the Muskegon River between Croton and Newaygo. Part of the race requires paddlers to get their boats out of the water and “carry” the Croton Dam before continuing along the route. Riders can attempt the course multiple times during the weekend’s competition, totaling nearly 800 timed runs.

“People competing today tomorrow and throughout the weekend are national level paddlers on a grand scale,” said Gabriel Slominski – President of the Newaygo Nationals Association. Some of the contestants have participated in the Olympics, and the youngest is only six years old. “Seeing them interact with some of their mentors, famous sports personalities, is pretty cool to watch.”

Part of the competition requires certain parts of the river to be blocked, which means partnerships with local law enforcement and park agencies are crucial. Through these partnerships, lasting improvements have been made along the marathon route, including mileposts and river maps erected at access points, making it easier and safer for the public to enjoy the waterway.

“It’s the kind of stuff that people take for granted when they go down the river and say ‘oh, I’m on the seventh mile,'” Slominski says. hours and mom and dad would pick you up. Now you know within half a mile how far down the river you are.”

Continuing their commitment to fun and ease of access, Slominski and the Nationals Association are working to install public charging stations near access points around the Croton Dam, which would be equipped with a connection Publicly available Wi-Fi.

The last day of competition is Saturday. Results and times are available at Newaygo Nationals Association website.

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